Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
Coming April 24th from Hodder and Staughton
Thank you kindly to Hodder and Sophie for arranging an advance reading copy.
Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It’s definitely him, the same police officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and makes a panicky escape.Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.Nicki can’t answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in a way that involved no spilling of blood, or why ‘HE IS NO LESS DEAD’ was painted across Blundy’s study. And she can’t explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life. Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent . . .
One of my favourite times of the year – time for a new Sophie Hannah book and time for me to head back into the world of Simon Waterhouse and co as they try and untangle yet another twisted web of murder. This year I was lucky enough to get an early look – so here we are a couple of sleepless nights later and I am done. And very happy.
Nicki is hiding a secret, So when certain things put that secret in jeopardy her paranoia causes her to take an impulsive action – one that will set off a chain of events that will eventually lead to a cold blooded killer…
Oh twisty turny wonderful tales – no-one does it better than Ms Hannah. Her extraordinary ability to write uncannily realistic yet psychologically deep characters then put them in a situation often of their own making is second to none….THEN she sends the equally extraordinary detective Simon Waterhouse in to untangle the ensuing chaos. Every time a little gem of reading joy especially for those of us who love a brain work out as we try to untangle things right alongside him.
In this particular instalment we have a murder victim who was not particularly pleasant in life (although I kind of loved him) a woman who is hiding, mostly from herself, along with an eclectic cast of other suspects all misbehaving in various ways – not since Agatha Christie’s novels have I come across stories with such a flair for the dramatic all wrapped up in the often mundane routines of life…all with their very own “locked room mystery” atmosphere. Its interesting therefore that it IS Sophie Hannah who will bring us a new Poirot story. A perfect fit – if anyone is going to do it then they have the right person for the job.
As always characters are key. Yes, Simon et al have their own ongoing story, but they are as always often very much in the background. Each new novel brings us new and compelling people to meet and judge and love or hate – the tales are always emotive for one reason or another, and provoke a response from the heart. As stated earlier I had a particular affinity for our victim here, but also Nicki, our main protagonist had me tearing my hair out…Ms Hannah puts you firmly inside the heads of these people and its often highly disturbing. Cleverly done.
This is definitely my favourite so far and that really IS saying something because I have loved them all. And so we come to the outcome (no spoilers ahead do not fear) of my well loved game of Beat the Author. Ms Hannah has been close to beating me with several of her previous novels and I was reliably informed going in that this might be “the one”. Well I’ll start by saying that again, as usual, this was intelligent, fascinating and outstanding plotting from someone I would be happy to call the heir apparent to the Queen of Crime when it comes to compelling mystery writing. Who won? Me?
Ha. Well. Yes. And No. I did untangle a lot of this very twisted tale but not all oh no. There was at least one part of the whole that I did not know until I was told. Now I had the main parts but Sophie Hannah is devious. Yay! Obviously I can’t tell you more – but once you have read it, do feel free to come back and ask and I’ll give you a breakdown. Ms Hannah thought at least a portion was unguessable but I think she does herself a disservice. There is no cheating of the reader here- looking back it was possible. I just did not. I call it a draw…
Five Bright Shiny Stars and an entry into my Beat the Author hall of fame for this one. Fair is fair.
Happy Reading Folks!